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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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a postwar baby boom. Moreover, a generation after the postwar baby boom, when the percentage of women in the childbearing age group increases, the birth rate may again rise.
Populations grow older when the birth rate declines, when there is no longer a decline in infant mortality, or when there is a substantial out-migration. In the United States the in-migration of older people to such warmer climates as Florida or southern California has affected the age structure of those areas.
Different age groups make different demands upon the state. If there is a rise in the number of infants, parents may demand more health services for children and mothers. A rise in the 5-to-15 age group may mean a greater demand for more primary and secondary schools and for the training of more teachers. A rise in the college-age group means that more institutions of higher learning may need to be built, or older ones enlarged, or employment opportunities created for new entrants into the labor force. A large old-age group may demand more medical and social security programs.
Whether the state responds to any of these needs depends upon the following: (a) whether citizens believe the state ought to be responsible for providing new services, (b) whether citizens have the political power to make effective demands upon their government, (c) whether governmental leaders believe the state ought to take on these responsibilities and are responsive to demands made upon them, and (d) whether the government has or can obtain the administrative and financial resources for expanding its services. These four conditions, obvious as they are, are often forgotten by planners who, viewing the changing age distribution of a population, calculate needs for housing, health services, or education without considering that needs may not be felt, that they may be felt but that citizens do not expect them to be met by government, that particular age groups may not have the political power to press their demands upon government successfully, or that government may not have either the will or the resources to respond to these demands or needs. With these factors in mind, let us consider some of the political effects of changes in the number of three different age groups in the population: the school-age group, say from ages 5 to 15; second, the number of young adults; and third, the number of older citizens.
A Rise in the Young Age Group. In most developing countries, the popular desire for education exceeds the supply. Whereas in other areas of national planning, government elites often lament the failures of industrialists and agriculturalists to achieve targets, in the area of educational development quantitative expansion has often been greater than planners had anticipated. Even poor peasant families are becoming aware of the importance of education for changing the status, occupation, and income of their children. The growth in the number of school-age children, with an increased demand by